Thursday, February 08, 2007


The roar of predictions around next week's Primates' Meeting has become deafening, and the Anglican blogosphere is rife with prognostication. In the midst of all of the worries, communiques, and conflicted soothsaying, I recommend re-reading the level, clear, and prayerful words of our Presiding Bishop who will be there representing The Episcopal Church, and this marvelous post that my friend and colleague, John Kirkley, just put up today. It's well worth reading, so here it is, in its entirety:

Much has been written in anticipation of the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Tanzania next week. The bloggers are having a field day, complete with prognostications, conspiracies, and plots on the left, center, and right. Will Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori be asked to leave the meeting? If not, will Archbishop Peter Akinola lead a procession of Global South Primates out of the meeting? Is this the end of the Anglican Communion?


But why should we be anxious about these matters? They are not the central concerns of our faith. They are very peripheral. The Church as the Body of Christ is always a broken (and breaking) Body, even as it is always a resurrected (and resurrecting) Body. Grief and joy are strangely mixed as we travel the Way of Jesus, but the joy overshadows the grief and gives it its shape. We grieve the potential loss of the Anglican Communion, because we recognize the joy of our common life in Christ and wish for all to share in it forever.

And so they will.

We may lose the Anglican Communion. It may be that the Anglican Communion is the life we must lose in order to gain it. To paraphrase Parker Palmer, the life we are living may not be the Life that wants to live in us. The Anglican Communion may not be the Communion that Christ wants to share with us. We shall see.

Here, I am reminded of the words that Bishop Marc Andrus wrote shortly after the 2006 General Convention.

If our commitment is to the relief of global human suffering, locally and globally enacted, we will have a communion. When we baptize and confirm it is into the Body of Christ, not into the Episcopal Church. The remembering of this may help us recognize a communion that may be given to us by our common commitment to the reconciling work of Christ in the world; that is, those who are also engaged in this ministry, or who recognize in it the traits of Christ’s ministry, will recognize us as brothers and sisters. We will have surprises in this, and there will be tears of repentance as all see what could have been but for our self-imposed barriers, and laughter at the gift of shared life.
- Bishop Marc Andrus, "Communion and the Particular"

We will have a Communion. It may not be the Communion we want or think we deserve or work tirelessly to create. It will be the Communion we are being given by a gracious God who loves us and desires to share his life with us in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Communion is a gift, not an achievement.

So, relax. Say your prayers. And, then, let go. We will have a Communion.

1 comment:

Adam Jacob said...

Thanks for the reminder, Richard. It's still hard for me to find much hope here in Peoria, but I'm doing what I can.

I also tagged you in the Seven Things Meme, if you're interested. If someone else has, then I apologize.